In Hue (and the Rest of the Front Office) We Trust?

The Cleveland Browns finally raised some critical eyebrows on Saturday when they used their 5th pick of the draft - still only #93 overall! - on USC quarterback Cody Kessler.

Many said he was either a late-round pick, or no pick at all. Yet the Browns took him with the 31st pick of the 3rd round, their 3rd pick of the 3rd round.

To be fair, this was at the end of the 3rd round, which almost makes it a 4th round choice. Kessler was drafted 93rd overall, and 6 spots later, the Browns took Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert. Would it really have mattered if they had swapped those picks? Probably be less questions if Kessler was officially taken in the 4th round.

But that criticism is saying something positive, because the guys making these picks - Head coach Hue Jackson; Executive Vice President Sashi Brown; Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesto; and VP, Player Personnel Andrew Barry - made a lot of good choices over the past week and a half. I think those who get paid to talk about these things noticed the job the front office did.

While player choices can always be debated, there were no Barkevious Mingo picks in this draft. But if you were going to say there was, you'd say it was the pick of Kessler. We'll see. 

Coach Jackson told reporters after the selection, "You've got to trust me on this one."

Oh, Hue. 

This is Cleveland. We don't trust anyone handling this team. Not you, not anyone. We've trusted so many before and we saw the same thing. It was more than the same dreadful results; it was the same processes. If you wondered why everyone flinched when the team traded down from #2, it's because we've seen that action before, the philosophy of trading down to acquire more picks for a thin roster, only to see bad choices be made and the accumulated picks be packaged together just to move up and make other bad choices, like Brady Quinn or Johnny Manziel

When free agency came this year and you took no one and let everyone walk, we shook our heads. We watch our baseball team do that all of the time, and some of the past results were always bad. We were told what studs Andy Marte and Matt LaPorta were going to be, but they didn't pan out.

So yeah. If you really think we're going to trust you with this or anything else, we're not.

And yet....

How do we feel about this team after the draft, fans? 

I'm not going to grade the draft. Against what? We have no idea what the team will look like in terms of strategy and systems. We don't know how these guys will fit in. All we can do is wonder if the value of the player taken was equal to the value of the pick with which he was taken. (Thus the Kessler mumblings.)

And I'm not going to sit here and tell you about guys I never watched. Even my doubts about Corey Coleman were based only on his size and the school he went to and nothing about the abilities of the player himself. I didn't watch a single Baylor game this year or ever.

So more than my own thoughts, I'm trying to catch the pulse of the fans and the local media about the draft and I think everyone feels better about this front office. Not because they got Stud Player A and Stud Player B, but because they seemed to handle themselves so well.

They traded down in the first round twice, yet got the first receiver in the draft and added to their draft picks this year and next. They made five draft trades, all moving further down and getting additional picks and cornerback Jamar Taylor. Get this: They actually used their draft picks.

Anyone missing these guys?
Alright, so a pretty good job of maneuvering. They got four wide receivers. They made a haul in this draft and are set up to make another one in the next draft.

I have to say, a pretty impressive job, at least when contrasted against what we're used to seeing. No, it doesn't mean they're going to be good. No, it doesn't mean it's going to work. But it does at least seem intelligent, which, again, is not something we see a lot of with this organization.

So let's revisit the question: Do we trust Hue? Do we trust this front office? 

I wouldn't say that we trust them, but I will say we're a little less skeptical after draft weekend. Sorry, guys. That's the best we can do.
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